With the growth of the internet and the advent of social media, the customer is in charge of the relationship with product and service providers more than ever before and their expectations are greater than ever.

Customer service continues to generate greater revenue.

A 2012 study by American Express showed 66% of customers are willing to spend 13% more with those companies that provide excellent customer service versus 2011 when 70% of customers were willing to spend 13% more.

Seventy-five percent of consumers say they have spent more with a company because of positive customer service experiences versus 73% in 2011.

Here are four keys I see in engaging customers today:

  1. Provide the opportunity for immediate interaction. I’m in operations and marketing for a small B2B company. Our hours are 8:30 to 5:30 but I’m typically in the office from 7:30 to 6:30. We have a policy of responding to all customers or prospects within one business day. If I’m in the office when the call or email comes in, the customer or prospect will get a response immediately. People are genuinely surprised and happy to receive such a timely response. If I’m dealing with a large, online product or service provider, I expect an immediate response because I’ve got a pretty good idea they have CSRs on call at least from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. If I ask you a question over the weekend, I certainly expect a response no later than Monday.
  2. Interact with the customer via the channel in which they prefer — email, text, Twitter, telephone, in-person. I make my initial response this way. However, email, text and Twitter cannot communicate the emotion of a phone call and a phone call cannot show how much you sincerely care about the customer as much as a face-to-face discussion. Don’t risk miscommunication or misunderstandings by failing to pick up the phone and call someone rather than engaging in an electronic “conversation.”
  3. Personalization is important. A person’s name is the most important words they can hear — use it. Everyone wants to be, and deserves to be, treated as an individual. In the interest of efficiency, training and standardization it’s fine for your company to have defined processes for how certain situations will be handled, but use this as a guide for you and your employees and don’t be afraid to vary the process based on the individual to provide an exceptional customer experience.
  4. Multi-channel integration is key. Have a good CRM system whereby you can document all of your customer and prospect interactions. This is especially important with loyal customers. You need to know their history, their preferences so that you, and everyone in your firm, can directly and indirectly meet their needs and wants by delivering a consistent cross-channel experience and the customer doesn’t have to repeat the same information to different people in your company.

Customers expect personalized answers in real-time. If you delivery an outstanding customer experience they’ll tell their friends and followers about their experience. 55% of customers are willing to recommend a product or service if they receive exceptional service. Service will generate more referrals than price and that will improve margins.

Tom Smith

Experienced marketing professional who has worked with more than 120 clients in 18 different vertical industries. ♦ Differentiate products and services by improving UX and delivering memorable CX to create an emotional connection to the brand. ♦ Obtain insights from analytics to solve business problems and drive revenue. ♦ Develop and implement marketing campaigns that double traffic and leads in three months. ♦ Certified Marketing Automation Professional ♦ Certified Voice of the Customer (VOC) Professional